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The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice

Posted by martinteller on February 7, 2009

Nothing makes me feel dumber than Shakespeare.  Going into this, I didn’t know one damn thing about “Othello”.  I’ve got the gist of it now, of course, but I’m sure I missed quite a bit of it.  The language is so dense and twisted, and it doesn’t help that the actors are often racing through their lines.  So I didn’t comprehend roughly 40% of the dialogue, and spent the first act feeling very confused.  I still don’t know why Iago is such a dick, but I guess I could look it up.  The other thing is that the film itself feels rushed, and undoubtedly large portions of the tale have been excised for the screen.  But it’s still a really compelling tale about jealousy and subterfuge, and although it’s not one of my favorites by Welles, I liked it far more than I expected to.  Except for his inconsistent blackface and some sketchy ADR work (often an issue with Welles), the film is technically stunning.  Almost every shot is in some way breathtaking or unusual or just looks freakin’ cool.  I don’t know how Shakespeare scholars view this movie, but it certainly made the Bard a little more palatable for me.  Perhaps I should even give Chimes at Midnight a second look.  Rating: 7


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